Fulton County Charter Schools Alliance Governance Board New Members Training 10.29.12
Today’s Topics • Chartering in Fulton County Schools • Governance Theory • Charter Law • Performance Assessments • Financial Practices • Personnel Obligations
Charter Schools in Georgia • Five Types of Contracts: System, State Special, Conversion, Start Up, and Career Academy • HB1162 – to add Commission Charters • FCS serves 10% of students thru charters • Adding additional authorization alternatives • To Learn More: • Georgia Charter Schools Annual Report • FCS State of the Charter Sector • Information Sheet on HB 1162
What are the appropriate areas of interaction between charters and FCS System?
FCS Responsibilities Under State Law 1. Administrative Responsibilities – Pre-Existing Process charter school petitions Ensure School Safety 2. Financial Responsibilities – 2008-09 Review charter budgets; Fund Charters “no less favorably” Ensure that funds are spent according to applicable laws 3. Enforcement Responsibilities – 2009-10 Enforce clear expectations Ensure compliance with federal laws Ensure compliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 4. Evaluative Responsibilities – 2010-11 Evaluate performance goals Take appropriate action based on this evaluation FCS has the obligation to “Control and Manage” the charter schools the system has authorized.
How does FCS Identify Areas of “Control and Management”? • Based on the law, FCS identifies departments as “In-Kind”, “Optional” or “Autonomy” • Publishes expectations for both parties; See Compliance Checklist SY12/13
In-Kind Departments Governance: FCBOE, Superintendent Central Office Administration: Assessment (testing), Accountability, Student Information Systems (eSchool Plus), Grant Development, Budget and Audit Services, Certification Services (partial) Support Services: Exceptional Children (SEC), Counseling, Charter Department, SST/504/RTI, GED/Homeless, Title I, ESOL, Talented and Gifted, Early Childhood Special Programs, Communications, Mandated Professional Development Facilities: Building Safety, Planning and Student Forecasting Health and Safety: Student Safety, Health Services
Optional Departments • Transportation • Nutrition • Intramurals • Media Services • Teaching Museums • Virtual School/Night School • Non-Mandated Professional Development
Autonomy Departments - Varies by contract type Operations - FCS Foundation, Financial Services, Payroll, Inventory Control, Accounting (except for federal grants) Support Services - Student Discipline, Extended Learning, Summer School, Social Work, Counseling Curriculum- All Departments, Textbooks Human Resources - Personnel Services, Certification Services, Placement Office Instructional Technology – provides access to Warehouse Facilities – provides services related to safety
How Does FCS Enforce Expectations? Articulate the expectations and enforcement process in advance by department via emails and the system portal Document significant events and deadlines Establish regular, planned periods for feedback and adjustment throughout the year (Compliance Reports, Audits) Include charter staff, governance and families in feedback (SIP, State of the School Addresses) Letter of Assurance articulates “probation” in addition to “termination”.
Break Out: What are the Roles and Responsibilities of my Governing Board?
It is NOT a Local School Advisory Council (LSAC) “The management and control of public schools shall be the responsibility of local boards of education, and the school leader shall be the principal. School councils shall provide advice, recommendations, and assistance and represent the community of parents and businesses.” (O.C.G.A. 20-2-85)(b)
Governance is NOT Administration • The board is almost always forced to rely on others to carry out the work. • The board should have a single point of delegation and hold this position accountable for meeting all the board's expectations for organizational performance. • This is usually the principal or the executive director.
Charter School Governing Board "School level governance" means decision-making authority in: • personnel decisions, • financial decisions, • curriculum and instruction, • resource allocation, • establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and • school operations.”
What are the functions of a strong governing board? • To be definite about its goals (What is “success” for our school?) • To be strategic and selective about the actions undertaken to move toward the goals (How do we achieve success?) • To assign clearly the responsibility for those actions (Who/what should manage the steps toward success?) • To check for adequate progress on the actions (What is the measure of success?) • To adjust goals and performance expectations (Based on the measured data, what is working and what needs to be adjusted/added/removed?)
Charter School’s Value Statements Vision/Mission Beliefs What is Success? How will we achieve it? Charter Petition How well are we doing? Monitoring and Oversight School Performance Measures How do we improve? Academic School Improvement Plans Governance Board Improvement Plans Who does the work?
What Does Governance Theory Mean For My Board? • The GB needs to agree on a philosophy of governance in order to be effective. • The GB is not a group of individuals; it is a single unit. • Principals will come and go; the GB remains. • The GB works for two bosses: The GB spends the monies of the taxpayer to educate the children of the community. THE GB IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
Break Out: What Does My Governance Board Do To Ensure All Members “Speak With One Voice”?
Major Guides • O.C.G.A. TITLE 20 EDUCATION, Chapter 2. Elementary and Secondary Education, Article 31, Charter Schools Act of 1998 • GADOE Rule 160-4-9-.04 Charter Schools • Guidance to Accompany Charter Schools Rule • FCS Policy and Letter of Assurances
What is a Charter School? A charter school is a public school that operates according to the terms of a charter, or contract, that: • has been approved by a local board of education (FCS) and the State Board of Education, and • is held accountable for meeting the performance-based objectives specified in the charter. PURPOSE – to improve student achievement through educational and organizational innovation Avenue – specific waivers of Title 20 ONLY
How Are Charters Limited? By Federal Law • Accountability provisions of NCLB, IDEA, and any civil rights laws By State Law • Charter Schools Act of 1998 • State Board of Education Charter Schools Rule • Shall Not Charge Tuition • Unlawful Conduct in or near a Public School • Reporting Requirements • Brief Period of Quiet Reflection • Open and Public Meetings • Inspection of Public Records By FCS • See the Letter of Assurances
What Happened to NCLB? • Georgia was granted a waiver from NCLB. • New accountability measures are being designed right now. • Highlights: • A more comprehensive CCRPI “report card” will be used to assess school performance • All schools must evaluate teachers and principals using the state assessment tool • All charter contracts will be amended to reflect the new accountability tools
Achievement Score = All Indicators Progress Score = State Assessments (Student Growth Percentile application) Achievement Gap Closure = State Assessments (Student Growth Percentile application) Exceeding the Bar = Additional Points Added to Overall CCRPI Score Financial Efficiency and School Climate = No Points – Star Rating Only
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Started in 1975 as PL 94-142 and was expanded in 2004. Public agencies must provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to age 21 in 13 specified categories of disability. Charters must provide Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and the same continuum of services provided in the local school.
Any Civil Rights Law • Privacy of Students and Parents (FERPA) • Privacy of Teachers and Administrators • Personnel Laws – wrongful termination • Discrimination
OpenMeetings – What is a meeting? • "Meeting" any gathering of a quorum of an agency’s governing body or a committee created by the governing body at which any official business, policy, or public matter of the agency is formulated, presented, discussed, or voted upon • Meeting is NOT a gathering where no official business is discussed such as • State-wide, multijurisdictional or regional meetings • Meetings with legislative/executive officials • Social/civic/religious events • Emails between Board members All meetings shall be open to the public.
Open Meetings - What Notices are Required? • Notice of the time, place, and dates of regular meetings shall be available to the general public. (FCS prefers use of the school’s website.) • If the meeting details are changed, the public must be notified at least 24 hours in advance. • Agendas should be made available no more than two weeks in advance of the meeting.
Open Meetings - Documentation • A summary of the meeting should be posted within two business days of adjournment. • Records and/or minutes should be immediately open to public inspection once approved at the next regular meeting. • Visual and sound recordings during open meetings are allowed. • Minutes shall include: • The names of the members present • A description of each motion made and who made it • Identification of person who seconds motions • A record of all votes • Identification of persons voting for/against proposals (except when unanimous)
Open Meetings – Executive Session • Executive Session permitted to: • Authorize settlement • Authorize negotiations, enter into contract, or enter into option to purchase / dispose of / lease property • Authorize ordering of an appraisal relating to real estate • Discuss personnel decisions • Interview applicants for the position of executive head (principal) • Conduct attorney-client discussion (Minutes must identify the subject of the discussion.) • Executive Session minutes are not open to the public • Must have final vote in open meeting
Open Meetings - What must be held “confidential”? The following should be handled in Executive Session and maintained as confidential: • Anything required by the federal government to be kept confidential • Medical records • Records compiled for law enforcement or prosecution purposes • Records that consist of confidential evaluations, hiring or firing of an employee • Records relative to the acquisition of real property • Any individual's private information such as social security number, birth date, etc.
Enforcement of Open Meetings • $1,000 for first violation • $2,500 for subsequent violations within 12 month period • Civil penalties allowed for negligent non-compliance with the law
Other Legal Limitations • Shall Not Charge Tuition (different than cost reimbursement fees) • Unlawful Conduct in or near a Public School • Reporting Requirements (eSchools) • Brief Period of Quiet Reflection (Prayer is allowed as long as it isn’t led by the school and doesn’t interrupt core classes.) • Inspection of Public Records
Know The Following: • Roberts Rules of Order http://www.robertsrules.com/ • Special Education Primer for Petitioners, Authorizers, and Districts http://gadoe.org/pea_charter.aspx
What Does The Charter Law Mean for My Board? • Have access to a lawyer. • Post your Meetings and Minutes on line. • Establish a “policy book” that contains the agendas, minutes and an organized set of your board’s policies. • Follow ALL of FCS directions, especially as we learn more about CCRPI • TRANSPARENCY
Break Out: What challenges does your GB face in light of all these rules and how can you address them?
How does FCS “Evaluate Performance” on Charter Goals? Collect data using tools in use for typical schools, adapted for charters Include charters in evaluation and assessment practices and information streams Establish regular, planned periods for adjustment throughout the year (Interim and Final Reports) Implement collaborative School Improvement Plans (combined with Title I plans, if needed) Require “State of the School” addresses for public information
What Tools Are Used To Gather Data? Federal – Ongoing Compliance Department Checklists as previously discussed Financial - Annual Audit, Monthly Financial Statements, Annual Report Academic and Operational Performance – School Performance Report (aligned to CCRPI) General - Any other communications to FCS (parent calls, police reports, etc.)
How are charters evaluated financially? Liquidity Ratio indicates the charter’s ability to meet short term obligations. Sustainability Ratio compares the amount of resources that aren’t already assigned such as to a loan payment (unrestricted assets) to the average monthly expenses. Occupancy Expenses indicate the percentage of the charter schools’ total revenue that goes toward facility costs. Debt to Assets Ratio* indicates the extent the charter is reliant on debt. *This measure was not included in the May 2009 NASCA “National Consensus Panel on Charter School Operational Quality”.
How is student performance measured? Progress + Achievement Achievement Performance at a single point in time Correlates to the organizational environment Compares performance to a standard Progress Measurement of a progress between two points in time Not related to the organizational environment Compares current performance to the past performance Charters are compared to benchmark schools to establish “achievement” and to their own past performance to establish a rate of “progress”
Student’s Score Converted to Z-Scores Student Performance Gain = 0.4 Allows us to determine a consistent measure of the student’s gain over time across non-aligned tools.
Amana, Dunwoody Springs Charter, KIPP SFA, Spalding Drive Charter, and Woodland Elementary Charter School Performance
Data from financial, academic, department and episodic reports Comparisons against other charters Comparison against national expectations (NACSA) Comparison against FCS acceptable standards of behavior and performance Transparency – Accurate local communications to parents and stakeholders State of the Charter Report and School Performance and/or Compliance Reports How Does FCS Assess the Entire Organization?
What Do Performance Assessments Mean for My Board? • You don’t have to crunch your own numbers. • You have free access to school, county, state, and national comparators. • Start ups can compare financial assessments to other Alliance Members. • You should have access to the information you need to make a wise policy decision. • TRANSPARENCY
Break Out: Review last year’s standardized test scores. What does it tell you and what further information would help you make decisions about changes that need to be made at your school?